What Can Small Businesses Learn from Giants’ Data Breaches?

Credit card theft

Data breaches for big-time companies like eBay, Target, and more have grabbed headlines in recent months and prompted experts to warn small businesses about the threats they face from similar situations. But for many independent owners, the ways in which these giant brand names – which have huge security budgets – were hit might seem largely irrelevant. However, there’s still a lot that can be gleaned from the unfortunate events which would be applicable to small businesses.

For one thing, it’s important to note that large data breaches are often caused by hackers figuring out a backdoor into their security systems and compromising it from the inside, according to a report from CIO. For small businesses, it’s not that different; most are caused by employees or others who might have access to secure files – whether they’re financial or contain other types of sensitive information – being duped into clicking a link or downloading malware disguised as something else. Therefore, it’s important to educate employees about the potential risks they face in this regard so that they don’t end up infecting their computers, and potentially an entire system, with a virus that could compromise everything.

What does this mean for planning?
Of course, because Target and eBay can invest such large sums in their security programs and still get hit, it stands to reason that a smaller business with far less capacity – or even none – to build security systems would be an easier target. As such, it can be very important for companies of all sizes to have comprehensive plans in place to protect themselves.

“If you’re a small company … in Tornado Alley, you probably have a plan if your plant is hit by a tornado. It doesn’t happen very often, but you’re prepared for it,” Dr. Larry Ponemon, chairman and founder of the Ponemon Institute, told the site. “You should run fire drills to make sure you’re ready.”

Owners looking to protect themselves from the financial fallout of a data breach, specifically, might want to think about the ways in which they can add tech insurance, a type of small business insurance policy specifically related to such an incident. Doing so could end up saving them tens of thousands of dollars or more in the event that their companies are hit by such an incident, and help ensure the ongoing financial safety of the company as a consequence.